TOTC owners: Industry ‘needs community more than ever’

11th July, 2018 by Nicola Carruthers

The new leadership team at Tales of the Cocktail (TOTC) believes the industry “needs community now more than ever” to address “difficult” challenges.

L-R: Neal Bodenheimer and Gary Solomon Jr with executive director Caroline Nabors Rosen

Gary Solomon Jr, head of the Solomon Group, and Neal Bodenheimer, co-owner of cocktail bar Cure, purchased TOTC’s parent company Mojo911 from founders Ann and Paul Tuennerman earlier this year.

The deal followed a year of uncertainty for the global cocktail festival, when the Tuennermans stepped down after their part in a much-criticised ‘blackface’ video.

Speaking to The Spirits Business last month, Solomon and Bodenheimer stressed that the event now aims to be more than a cocktail festival.

“We’re not here just for the sake of having a six-day awesome booze fest,” Solomon said.

“This is a very troubled industry; there’s a lot of fractured stuff going on in it. There’s someone to bring everyone together and we believe Tales should be the platform for it.

“We’ve got the resources and the organisation so that the industry can come together to solve difficult problems facing it. We want to propel the industry forward and get out of some of the challenges it’s facing right now. It takes coming together to do that.

“The main thing is re-emphasising why we’re here – it’s not just an individual experience, it’s for the good of the industry and that’s what’s really important to us.”

Bodenheimer echoed Solomon’s thoughts. He said: “It’s all about community. This industry needs community now more than ever as people are finding less common ground. We need to have a place where we can find common ground.”

This year’s TOTC festival will take place from 16-22 July in New Orleans. There will be a number of changes to the event, including a new ticketing strategy and six free seminars will be available to the public. In addition, the team will donate US$250,000 to the industry.

For an in-depth interview with Solomon, Bodenheimer and executive director Caroline Nabors Rosen, see the July 2018 issue of The Spirits Business, out now. 

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